Incumbent says he has town's best interests at heart
|Current chairman of the Board of Selectmen Kevin Hayes is up for re-election, and hopes to guide the town through hardships and tough economic times. Lauren Tiner. (click for larger version)|
February 23, 2011Kevin Hayes, current chairman of the Board of Selectmen, has decided to run for another three-year term in hopes of seeing the town through hard times and guiding it toward better ones.
"We have to make decisions in the best interest of the town," said Hayes. "My focus is to continue the frugal management we've had over the last two years and hopefully keep the town a great place to live, since it is."
Hayes, a resident of Gilford for almost 30 years, is a civil engineer by education and has worked in the construction field all his life. He received his MBA from New Hampshire College, currently known as Southern New Hampshire University. He is a native of Somersworth, Mass., and studied at Northeastern University in Boston.
Hayes has worked all throughout New England and the nation, including five years for a company in Pennsylvania, then later for a small paving company in southern New Hampshire. Hayes and his family moved to California for two years, from 1990-1992, in between their Gilford residency.
"I went to California for municipal construction. It was an interesting experience but I wanted to come back to New Hampshire," said Hayes. "For the past four years I have worked on my own. I do construction consulting for different contractors."
His wife Pam Hayes is a teacher at Gilford Elementary School. His son has followed his lead in construction, though he focuses on energy efficiency within buildings and is currently constructing greenhouses in Campton. His daughter has also had a successful career path and his currently running a restaurant in Portsmouth.
Hayes was first inspired to run for a seat on the Board of Selectmen three years ago when he realized he didn't like the direction municipal government seemed to be going. He said that while town government was not out of hand, it was "cantankerous" at the time.
"I was convinced to run. I ran against John Goodhue and won by 25 votes," said Hayes.
Hayes said many people may not realize what goes into being a selectman, noting that it took him about six months just to become familiarized with and adjusted to some of the tasks ahead of him.
"It's amazing to see the amount of work that's involved. You don't just attend a meeting every other week. There are lots of papers to review and sign, and all the work involved with another select board in town that each selectmen must sit on," said Hayes. "Sometimes I devote four nights to these causes."
While he had support from the town residents the first time around, he has decided to run again not only to aid the town through hard times, but to see if residents still stand behind him as a selectman after serving three years on the board.
Hayes said one of his jobs is listening to people and attempting to solve their problems or ease their concerns by working with various town departments.
"Evictions are the most difficult for a selectman. It's a hardship and these people have nothing left, yet at the same time it keeps fairness with those who make an effort to pay their taxes," said Hayes.
Right now, just like many towns, Gilford has its financial issues, Hayes said. Despite that, the selectmen make it a point to conduct small road improvements every year and can do so without breaking the bank thanks to a contractor who has the town's interest in mind.
For the last three years, the selectmen have presented a level funded town budget.
"It's been a very tough year, and laying people off is never easy. We also reduced the scope of benefits that non-union employees have," said Hayes. "We are very fortunate that town employees understand the circumstances and appreciate that we are doing the best we can."
Hayes said he has received positive feedback from residents throughout his term and believes that residents will once again support him for his values, his management style, his approachability, and the fact that he has the town's best interest at heart.
"People are appreciative that I am running again and I think also that I am a familiar face. The appreciation keeps you going, and I want to be of service."
Hayes will face one other contender, Joe Hoffman, in the race for an open seat on the Board of Selectmen.